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Sri Lanka to import eggs to meet market local demand

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The Sri Lankan Government has decided to import eggs to meet the demand in the market.

The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting held today.A proposal was put forward to import eggs and the proposal was approved.

Bakery owners had said last week that there was a serious shortage of eggs in the market.

The shortage was as a result of poultry associations refusing to sell eggs at Rs. 55 in the market.An egg was being sold at Rs. 60-70 in some places.

As a result, the Government had decided to import eggs and sell an egg at Rs. 55 or less.

The daily production of eggs had dropped to 3.5 million from eight million, All-Island Poultry Farmers’ Association Chairman, Ajith Gunasekara, said adding that farmers were not starving the market.

“We can only keep an egg for 14 or 15 days. After that they get rotten. The egg production has dropped. It’s impossible to produce eggs at the controlled price,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Animal Farmers’ Union Convener, Sujeewa Dhammika, said that it was impossible to sell an egg at 55 rupees.

“We don’t want to increase prices. However, the cost of feed has gone through the roof. A lot of farmers have closed shop. They have also sold their chicken for meat. Most people can’t afford to buy parent chickens, so the industry is on the verge of collapse,” he said.

Dhammika alleged that during the Christmas and New Year season, Sri Lankans, on average, consumed about 200 million eggs.

“Some sections want to make the local production collapse and import eggs. Even if they have a two-rupee profit from an egg, they can make 400 million rupees in a few weeks. That’s what’s going on,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera said that there the poultry industry was on the verge of collapse. The Cabinet would discuss the matter soon and take steps to ensure that the industry would remain afloat, he said.

The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association has called upon President Ranil Wickremesinghe in writing yesterday not to allow the All-island Egg Producers’ Association to sell eggs at exorbitant prices to consumers, said the Bakery Owners’ Association’s Chairman N.K. Jayawardena.

The All Ceylon Bakery Association Members have sought President Wickremesinghe’s intervention to import eggs from India. He added that they called upon the Government to take steps to ensure that the consumers can buy eggs between Rs. 18 to Rs 20.

He said although the Government has said that the price of an egg should be about Rs. 43 for a white egg and Rs. 45 for a brown egg, there was no indication that the egg producers would reduce the prices. The supermarket shelves now have Rs. 70 per-egg cartons, he said.

Egg producers have problems feeding their poultry stocks due to higher animal feed costs. Jayawardena said, “Even with all their problems, they can still sell an egg at Rs 30 (retail) and yet make profits”.

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